29 FEBRUARY 2016
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An inquiry looking at UK airports by the House of Commons Transport Select Committee has concluded poor surface access restricts growth, adversely affects passenger experience and forces airport users, local commuters and airport employees to use road transport which exacerbates environmental concerns.
The inquiry revealed a lack of leadership on strategic planning. Heathrow and Gatwick were not the key focus of the inquiry. However, the lack of a decision over airport capacity in the south east means that it is difficult to see how regional airports fit into the national picture.
In its report it says the devolution agenda has the potential to improve local planning and economic development. However, Network Rail and Highways England must play their part: how they prioritise airport access schemes is vital to allow local areas to plan and develop effectively. Whether by road or rail, people should be able to choose forms of transport which deliver on ease of travel as well as environmental grounds.
The respective roles and responsibilities of the National Infrastructure Commission, Transport for the North, combined authorities and Local Enterprise Partnerships must be clarified. This is particularly important to ensure that advances such as integrated ticketing, can be implemented for the full benefit of passengers. www.parliament.uk/business/committees
All comments are filtered to exclude any excesses but the Editor does not have to agree with what is being said. 100 words maximum
Andrew Sharp, United Kingdom
Sadly, Network Rail don't seem to have got the message - despite what they said to the Select Committee. In their Western Rail Study published last August were plans to move Heathrow Express from the Main (fast) lines to the Relief (slow) lines, which would inevitably decelerate and degrade the service.